Monday, 14 July 2014
Off Key by Mark Robertson
Charlotte has supported Kyle's precarious musical career for three years. Now it's her turn. When Kyle doesn't want to play the breadwinner, she looks to a future on the other side of the Atlantic. Saxophonist Kyle has no money, no career and has now lost the love of his life. Can an autistic twelve-year-old boy and an alcoholic 'has been' be his salvation?
As a book reviewer I love to support Indie and debut writers whenever I can and today's review supports both at the same time. Mark has spent five years writing his first novel. We all know how hard it is to attract the attention of a publisher and that prompted Mark to become self published.
The first thing I have to say is, what a lovely book cover shiny and strokeable with lovely white pages. I do hate those books with cream rough paper. All you book lovers will know what I mean.
This is slightly different from my normal read as it isn't often I read a book written by a man. It's not intentional they just doesn't seem many men who write the kind of book I read.
Off Key centres on the relationship between Kyle and Charlotte. Kyle can only focus on one thing and that's his saxophone playing and trying to make a living from it in jazz clubs in the north of England. Unfortunately he not very successful at hitting the big time.
Charlotte comes from a wealthy background and her parents have disowned her for living with a loser like Kyle. Charlotte has put her plans of training to be a lawyer on the back burner as she works in a PR firm to support Kyle and keep a roof over their head. As Harry travels around with the other no hopers in his band he comes into contact with Harry a once famous saxophone player now an alcoholic living a day to day existance. At the same time Charlotte leaves. As Kyle's life descends into chaos without her can he see by looking at Harry that he could end up just like him ?
Kyle drove me mad for most of the book I wanted to give him a good kick. I was firmly on Charlotte's side. I mellowed a bit towards him near the end of the story.The reason for my mellowing was that he was kind and good at heart, just a bit daft.
I loved the character of Harry and wondered where it all went wrong for him. Alcohol and his saxophone were his friends and as long as he had them he was happy,or was he?
I realised reading this that it must be so frustrating being married or having a relationship with a musician,they seem to live and breathe music.
There are some really funny bits in the book with Kyle's bandmates and the things they get up to trying to get to venues in an old broken down van.
Dainty who is Charlotte's friend and co worker brings us some of the funniest and saddest moments. I loved her.
A few times in the book we meet a twelve year old autistic boy Craig who Kyle is giving free saxophone lessons too. He was so endearing and relied on his lessons much more than Kyle knew and I would have loved him to be more involved in the story.
The author is a musician and it shines through the book that he knows what he is talking about. It is just what you imagine life to be like for a band trying to make their mark. The seedy clubs and dressing rooms, the managers out to line their own pockets and the antics of the band.
I enjoyed reading Off Key and as with all books I enjoy I want to know what happens next? I think a sequel is called for. I don't want to give the ending away but I want to know what happens say in four years time.
This is the kind of book that would make a great television drama/comedy and I read on The author's website that this book started life as a screenplay so watch this space.
I want to thank Mark for sending me a copy of his book in return for an honest review, and he told me to be really honest, he said he could take it.Well Mark I didn't expect to be in tears at the end but I was (in a good way)
Off Key at Amazon Uk for kindle or paperback
Paperback from The Book Depository. Free shipping worldwide
Follow Mark Robertson on Twitter here
Mark's website where you can read the first two chapters of his book here